Sprinting is the baddest conditioning exercise in the land 💯. But without a proper warm-up it will more than likely end very badly for you 👀.
Sprinting stands alone as the apex predator of conditioning. Other conditioning exercises like pushing the Prowler are high up on the list of apex predators as well. But no other exercise on Earth feels like a maximal effort sprint.
Sprinting will build your mind, body, character, and your mental toughness. Sprinting is extremely effective for building muscle, losing fat, and improving your athleticism. For comparison purposes, sprinting is Thanos with ALL of the Infinity Stones.
Consistently sprinting throughout the year will also allow you to develop the butt and hamstrings of a stallion. For natural bodybuilders (and especially those in bikini and figure) having phenomenal glutes and hamstrings will make you stand out on stage.
And when you combine sprinting with a progressive weight lifting program, a great diet, and the proper recovery, you will build a comic book-like body. Many natural bodybuilders have bought into the hype that the only place where cardio can occur is in the “cardio section” of some commercial gym. But having this mindset will ensure that you are leaving meat on the bone in terms of your muscle gains, especially in the legs.
There are no downsides to sprinting if you are healthy and injury-free. But what you cannot do, which is a mistake that many lifters and athletes make, is just go outside, hit the track, and sprint at full speed from the jump. Trying to execute this poorly constructed plan will increase the chances that your hamstring goes POP.
You have to know how to warm-up for sprinting. Without this knowledge, you will be going down a dark road that only leads to you getting injured. I do not want to see you in the ER with that torn hamstring.
What Happened To Real Work?
One of the biggest time wasters in the fitness game is spending hours in the lame “cardio” section of a commercial gym.
Soul-draining devices like treadmills and ellipticals are set up to make you think that you are working out. But in reality, the vast majority of the folks on these machines look like extras from the Walking Dead. There is no passion or pride in the “cardio” section.
Have you ever been inspired by looking at an average treadmill workout? Of course not! What happened to real conditioning? What happened to challenging yourself? And what in the blue sky happened to honest, hard work?
You see, the human body was designed to move in space, not operate on a human hamster wheel. When it comes to conditioning, the best exercise that you can do is sprinting.
The goal is not to emulate the great Usain Bolt. The goal is to unleash your inner greatness.
Failing To Prepare Is Preparing To Fail
I have vivid memories of not being prepared in multiple areas of my life during my younger days.
In high school my lack of effort in the classroom left me totally unprepared for testing. This led to below average grades in almost all of my classes except for health and history.
I was completely unprepared for the transition from high school sports to college athletics. I got my then skinny arse handed to me on a paper plate for my entire freshman year on the East Stroudsburg University track team. There was no way that I was ready to be a collegiate sprinter.
Dating women in my late teens was an absolute disaster as I was completely unprepared to talk to them. You should have seen me stumbling and bumbling and fumbling over my words when I tried to talk to these women 😦!
As I began to get older and more mature, I started to understand the vast importance of proper preparation.
Preparation is what separates the winners from the losers. Preparation is what separates the people who make tremendous progress in the iron game from the folks who are stagnant or declining.
Committing to doing this sprinter warm-up every time before you sprint will improve your performance and minimize your risk of injury.
1) Warm-Up With Exercises Specific To Sprinting
The standard dance that happens in every commercial gym is the token treadmill/elliptical/stair master warm-up.
If you are doing the typical, fake hustle workout that garners no true results, you should hop right on the treadmill with the rest of the herd. But if you are doing a progressive, results-driven workout, you need to do a warm-up that prepares you for what you are about to do.
Are you about to push heavy weight on the bench press? Then it’s time to get the bench press warmed up with ramp up sets on the bench press. Are you about to put a cold steel bar on your back and get busy in the squat rack? Then it’s time to start doing ramp up sets of squats to get your squat warmed up.
Sprinting follows the same exact protocol. The first thing you will do before you begin a sprinting workout is to warm-up with exercises that are specific to sprinting.
Some of those exercises are:
1) A marches and skips
2) Knee pulls
3) B marches and skips
4) C walks
5) D marches and skips
6) High knees
7) Dynamic stretches
The purpose of doing a warm-up specific to sprinting is so that you can properly prepare your body to sprint. You don’t get warmed up for sprinting by wasting 15 minutes on a lame “cardio” machine. That’s called fake hustle.
You get warmed up for sprinting by doing drills that are designed to improve your sprinting performance. Your warm-up for sprinting will consist of four parts.
1) Walking Drills
The walking drills are the easiest of the bunch in terms of physicality.
But if you are an uncoordinated stiff, you will probably initially struggle to get the timing of the drills right. The hardest part about these walking drills is getting the coordination down between your arms and legs.
The vast majority of the people that I have trained have looked abysmal doing these drills on day 1. I have looked just as abysmal doing these sprinter warm-up drills for the first time as a high school senior. But once you have the drills down you will be golden.
The walking drills are regressions of the next set of drills which are known as the skipping drills.
2) Skipping Drills
Things get interesting when you begin to skip.
The skipping drills are more difficult than the walking drills because now you are adding some speed to your movements. At first, you will probably feel very uncoordinated during the skips. This is due to the increase in speed.
These drills are dynamic in nature and will start to wake up your nervous system.
3) Sprinting Drills
Sprinting drills are the final drills you will do before you begin your sub-maximal sprints.
During these sprinting drills you are looking to execute them with crispness and power. The sprinting drills prime your body for the final part of the warm-up.
4) Sub-Maximal Sprints
Before you begin to sprint for real you have to do a few sub-maximal sprints.
Sub-maximal sprints (75-85% speed) do two things: they fine tune your nervous system and they allow you to identify any hidden injuries or pain. You might feel good during the warm-up drills. But you have no idea about what you have to offer for the workout until you begin to sprint.
You will perform 3-5 sub-maximal sprints before you begin your actual workout. The distance of your workout will dictate how long your sub-maximal sprints will be.
I typically do these sub-maximal sprints anywhere between 10 and 60 meters based on the workout.
The lifter or athlete who is properly warmed up will dramatically lower their chances of getting injured while sprinting.
Don’t skimp on your warm-up, because I’m not coming to see you in the ER if you pull that hammy due to false pride.
The people in life that are prepared for what they need to do will always get the job done. On the other side of the coin the people in life that are totally unprepared for what they need to do will always fail to get the job done.
Trying to sprint without proper preparation is like trying to drive your car with no oil: you will not get far and eventually, you’ll seize up!
I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer